What makes someone become an obsessive compulsive skin care junkie?
Sometimes it’s a skin condition – such as those that typically rear their ugly heads in adolescence, like acne and blackheads. You might find yourself trying different brands to get the problem under control and then discover it’s hard to stop sampling the next ‘big thing’ that promises miracle results.
Quite often, it is because someone has spotted the first signs of ageing and they panic. Vanity has a way of dictating that the ageing process must be slowed down – or, preferably, stopped dead in its tracks – before it is left to wreak havoc on our looks.
But, for me, it was ‘none of the above’.
I became a skin care junkie in my early thirties. And it was quite by chance. My obsession started with an Avon ‘bargain bag’, of all things. I don’t know what I was expecting it to contain – perhaps an end-of-line lipstick, an eye pencil and a garish nail varnish in a shade my local rep was finding hard to shift. But, of the five or six items inside the bland-looking bag, there was only one product I used until it was all gone.
And it wasn’t any of the cosmetics that I assumed I was buying! It was a gentle fruit acid skin peel.
Skin Care Buying Habits
At the time, I had combination skin and suffered terribly with blackheads on my nose and chin. None of the peel-off masks or blue-coloured ‘astringents’ (remember them?) I bought made the slightest bit of difference – and the watery lotions had an acrid smell with strong overtones of concentrated alcohol. Like many people with similar skin, I went out of my way to try and cover blemishes up – mostly with layer-upon-layer of make-up. All I ended up achieving was even more blackheads and noticeably large pores.
The skin peel was the first product I ever used that delivered a noticeable improvement. Imagine my distress when I went to order another bottle and discovered it had been discontinued. I suppose that is why it was in the bargain bag! This led me down the route of face scrubs, starting with the Swiss formula ones.
After that, it was cleansing milks and moisturisers. In fact, I discovered that the more hydrated I kept my skin the better it looked. And, one by one, the blackheads started to disappear. By my mid thirties, I had moved onto the former No7 cleansing balm, clay masks and more expensive moisturisers and toners.
Habits Can Be Broken – Can’t They?
Once or twice I ‘fell off the wagon’, so to speak. But the quick deterioration in the appearance of my skin soon got me back on track.
In my early forties, I started experimenting with ranges like Elemis, Elizabeth Arden, Sanctuary, and L’Oreal. In fact, I took part in a clinical trial for a top-brand eye cream. This is where my interest in night creams and serums started.
By my late forties, I was in total awe of Alison on QVC and decided to give up my career as a newspaper journalist to retrain as a beautician specialising in anti-ageing skin care treatments. I had come into a small inheritance at the time and could afford to pay my way through a residential course. The only problem was… In order to get Level 3 I had to study all the things I wasn’t the least bit interested in. Anti-ageing and skin was my ‘bag’. I couldn’t give a stuff about nail cuticles or eyebrow shaping.
So, instead of throwing my career away, I continued in my job as the editor of a newspaper and started testing different brands with a passion in my spare time. I have been fascinated by the differences in some similarly-branded products and the almost absolute sameness of some that are not.
I can tell you straight off that most of the lower-end range of instant eyelift serums are exactly the same (I’ve tried them all). And it’s very hard to apply them without ending up with a white residue. I seriously take my hat off to anyone who can get it right every time. Price isn’t always an indicator of how well a product will perform either.
There is nothing I enjoy more than opening a new purchase. Over the past three years, I’ve veered towards kits – to name just a few: Beverly Hills, No7, Gatineau, Prai, Laura Geller highlighters/make-up, Avon, of course, and some obscure brands from Eastern Europe. I like to try a new brand once or twice a year (that’s a lie, because it’s more like six or seven!), because I truly believe a change is as good as a rest when it comes to skin care.
That’s the story of how I became a skin care junkie. What’s yours?
For further information about products featured on this page, click an image. You can see how my skin has responded to products used over the years. See my face, aged 55 and after going though cancer treatment, at the bottom of the page here: Important Things To Consider When Buying Gifts For A Cancer Patient – Regime Skin Care
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